‘American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs’

“American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs” plays at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 22 at the Detroit Film Theatre at the Detroit Institute of Arts.

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After the film: Immediately following the film, Grace Lee Boggs and director Grace Lee will discuss the activist’s life in a Q&A moderated by NPR’s Celeste Headlee.

Year: 2013
Minutes: 82 minutes
Director: Grace Lee
Writer: Grace Lee
Cinematographer: Jerry A. Henry, Quyen Tran
Editor: Kim Roberts
Producers: Grace Lee, Caroline Libresco and Austin Wilkin
Executive Producer: Joan Huang
Production company: LeeLee Films, Inc.
Other film festivals: Athena Film Festival, Seattle Asian American Film Festival, DOC NYC, North American Labor History Conference, Detroit: Movement City, Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival, Hawaii International Film Festival

Grace Lee Boggs is a 98-year-old Chinese American and Detroit icon who has spent 70 years as a writer, activist, and philosopher with an eye on social justice and change. The documentary from filmmaker Grace Lee (who is not related) finds her at the forefront of major movements of the past century, including labor and civil rights in the African American and Asian American communities along with feminism and environmental issues. More than a fascinating portrait of a charming radical with a thick FBI file, the movie puts her in the context of history as she grows and adapts along with the Motor City that she still calls home. Inspired by the sometimes contradictory teachings of Hegel, Marx, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, she comes to the conclusion that once your ideas are fixed, they become dead. Danny Glover, Angela Davis, Bill Moyers, and Bill Ayers testify to Grace’s ongoing influence, but the highlight may be a 1982 clip with her and late husband James Boggs on a talk show hosted by Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, who introduce Grace as a woman they wish everyone could get to know. This documentary, over a decade in the making, is your chance to do just that.

About the Director: Grace Lee is a Los Angeles-based maker of both fiction and documentary films including “American Zombie” and “Janeane From Des Moines,” about the 2012 Presidential campaign. She first met Grace Lee Boggs (they are not related) a decade ago when she was making “The Grace Lee Project,” a feature documentary on Asian-American identity that was broadcast on the Sundance Channel.